After two months of martial-law type lockdown, during which we were under night-time curfew, needed state permission to leave our home in the day – and even then only for specific reasons stipulated by the authorities – and were subjected to routine police checks on the streets, most of our personal liberties have finally been restored.
From Thursday morning, we are able to leave our homes whenever we want to, we are able to go wherever we choose (unless the place is still under lockdown), have a frappe in a cafe and drive around town or the countryside all night.
We are free again, although some restrictions will remain. We still are not free to leave the country, cross to the north, or attend a gathering of more than 10 people, but from Saturday we can also on the beach for as long as we like and attend a church service.
All these were liberties we took for granted until they were taken away from us by government decree, in the name of the pandemic.
What was astonishing was how tacitly everyone accepted the martial law regime that was imposed, surrendering their personal liberties without real complaint or protest. Perhaps it was because of the fear that was created, not just by the authorities but also by the news of the rapid spread of the virus and rising death toll in countries like Italy and Spain.
The authorities did a good job in controlling the spread of the virus, doing everything that had to be done efficiently and limiting deaths to a minimum, but now we are entering a new phase, having been brainwashed about the need to continue with the social distancing and protection measures. Our liberties may have been restored but not the normality of daily life as we knew it. In fact, for today’s reopening of public schools 30 pages of safety protocols have been issued by the government to allay the fears of parents.
While it is important to follow the safety rules, we also need to discard the fear that has been instilled in us in the last few months, if there is to be a return to normality.
According to President Anastasiades, the lockdown will return if there are 130 new infections in a three-day period. This seems very unlikely at present, but before long the airports will be reopened and nobody knows what happens then.
But for now, we should enjoy our restored freedoms and adhere to the protection measures in order to maintain them.